Border guards: Romanian farmers blocking 2 checkpoints

Romanian farmers have started blocking trucks at two crossings, Siret and Vicovu de Sus in Suceava County, which borders Chernivtsi Oblast, Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service reported on Jan. 15.

The Siret crossing has been blocked intermittently since Jan. 13. Both the Siret and Vicovu de Sus crossings have been blocked since around midday, the State Border Guard Service said.

According to media outlet Euractiv, Romanian truck drivers and farmers joined forces on Jan. 14, slowing traffic around several cities in protest of issues such as high tax rates, long waiting times at border crossings, and slow subsidy payments.

The farmers claimed they have lost income for almost two years due to cheaper grains being exported by Ukraine, Euractiv said. Romania’s Customs Authority reported in December that the country had not imported grain from Ukraine in the past six months.

Romania does play a crucial role in helping Ukraine export its agricultural products amid Russia’s threats to Black Sea maritime transport, with almost 60% of Ukrainian grain exports transiting through the country.

Polish truckers have been blocking three crossings with Ukraine since November 2023 in protest of the EU’s liberalization of transit rules for Ukrainian truckers, causing massive lines on the border and negatively impacting Ukraine’s economy.

Polish farmers then launched a blockade at a fourth crossing at Medyka. They temporarily suspended the action over the Christmas period between Dec. 24 and Jan. 4, and reached a deal with the Polish government on Jan. 6, ending their protest.

Similar protests took place at the Slovakian and Hungarian borders in December 2023.

Read also: European Commission approves Romanian 126 million euro fund to support Danube ports impacted by war

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